in 1969 or so
Mr. Femina was 33-year-old
chuukyuu Would you tell me about the establishment of this agency?
Mr.Femina We started about two years ago.
Two and a half years ago actually.
There were originally four partners who left Ted Bates Advertising to start their own advertising agency.
They were all creative people.
There were two copywriters and two art directors. When we started the agency, it was very tough at the beginning to get people to give their accounts, probably the same in Japan. We started and after three months two of the partners left, two of the people who worked with us left because there was not enough for us to do.
The two of us who stayed built up to a point where now we're billing about 22 million dollars.
So we grew very fast. Advertising is like the fashion business.
People want to see a new group so they come to you just like that.
One day they don't want to answer the telephone when you call and the next day they all start coming to you and try to give you their accounts.
chuukyuu Did you found this agency right after leaving Delehanty, Kurnit & Geller?
Mr.Femina No. Delehanty, Kurnit & Geller was the agency before I was at Ted Bates. I went to DK&G first.
chuukyuu How long did you stay at DK&G?
Mr.Femina I stayed there for two and a half years.
chuukyuu Oh, I see. Then who left DK&G?
Mr.Femina The four partners left together. We went to Ted Bates together.
The feeling of going to Ted Bates was we had to have a big agency to leave from. It's like this; if you're leaving from Dentsu, everyone knows where you are but if you're leaving from a small agency, not too many people know who you are. So we did it almost for the publicity, for the value of the publicity of leaving from a big agency.
chuukyuu Who was your first client after you opened up this place?
Mr.Femina Our first client was an account called Squire. They made men's hair pieces. And to me that was perfect because I'm bald.
chuukyuu What was the economic scale of this company at the outset of this place? For example, the number of employees and the budget of the clients?
Mr.Femina Well, number of employees was four of us and one secretary in the beginning.
Now we have about 75 people and we've moved into much larger quarters.
We had a small little office just across the street.
The budget of the first client was 40,000 dollars a year.
We took that budget and we put a big ad in Life magazine at the beginning as the very first ad the agency ever did for Life magazine.
chuukyuu Could you describe for me your past background such as your birth year, your birth place, schooling, the motive for being a copywriter?
Mr.Femina I was born in 1936 in Brooklyn, New York. Schooling was just high school and one year at night of college.
I used to be a messenger and I used to deliver advertising to advertising agencies.
And I always. got the feeling that the copywriters had the easiest job in the world because they didn't look like they were working.
They were alway relaxing and you didn't have to write copy, so it became very appealing.
I decided that I wanted to become a copywriter.
It took a lot of years before I got a job as a copywriter.
I had a lot of jobs.
I had about 22 jobs in two years, so I got to do a lot of different things.
chuukyuu In the light of your experience, can you see any change in the mode of advertising when you are the boss and when you are not? If there is any change, please show me the reasons for that.
Mr.Femina For one thing for salary reasons it seems unfair. Before it was much nicer when they were paying me.
I think the relationship in an advertising agency here in America has changed so dramatically.
Younger people are taking over.
I am 33, my partner is 30 and I don't think we have a person in the agency who is over 35.
It is much younger, and much more attractive in terms of people who are excited more about what the business is, what it can do for us.
They don't want fear.
There was a time when the copywriter and the art director and the people working at the agency feared the agency president.
There's no fear here.
They don't fear.
chuukyuu It's like a family union.
Mr.Femina Yes, very close. We work very late. We work until one, two o'clock in the morning every night almost.
We start very early, we spenda lot of time together and we like each other. It's a nice feeling. We go out and we eat together, we have fun together.
There's music going on in the agency almost all the time.
If you walk down the hall late, you hear music.
People are enjoying themselves, there's a lot of fun.
Before, it wasn't fun. I think there was a time when advertising was drudgery, hard work.
It's lost and now we've loosened up.
We don't feel as restricted.